More than 50,000 people have signed a letter calling on United States President Barack Obama to free Jonathan Pollard. An ongoing campaign to free Pollard has gone into high gear in light of Obama's plan to visit Israel in March.
The petition to release Pollard opens with the line, "Honorable President Obama, come with Pollard!"
Among those who have signed so far are a former Israeli president, several former ministers and former and current Members of Knesset, as well as Nobel Prize winners.
Esther Pollard, Jonathan's wife, called Friday for more Israelis to sign. "In another few weeks it will be 10,000 days since Jonathan began his sentence. That is an occasion that none of us want to mark," she said.
"Please help get signatures on the mass appeal for Jonathan and save his life," she appealed. Pollard has recently suffered multiple health crises in prison.
Earlier in the week Esther Pollard revealed that during his limited daily telephone time with her, Jonathan Pollard first asks how many people signed the petition for his release during the previous day.
Jonathan Pollard was given a sentence of life in prison for passing classified defense-related information to Israel. His supporters say his sentence is unusually harsh for the crime of revealing classified information to a friendly state.
The petition states, "Jonathan Pollard has now served 28 years of a life sentence in American prisons. A few short weeks from now, he will mark his 10,000th day in jail. Both he and Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse. We have learned our lesson and have been living with the painful consequences for nearly 3 decades."
It concludes, "We appeal to you as one who symbolizes the shared values of humanity, compassion and hope for a second chance, that both of our nations embrace. We implore you to commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served without delay and allow him to live out his remaining days as a free man. It is our fervent hope and prayer that your upcoming trip to Israel will bring us the good news we have waited for, for so very long, and that this tragic and painful episode can finally be put to rest once and for all."
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